Lease Agreements in Washington, D.C.

Get an overview of what's included in our Washington, D.C. Lease Agreement.

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Written by Tony
Updated over a week ago

TurboTenant’s Washington, D.C. lease agreement has been written and reviewed by Washington, DC lawyers and landlords. It’s been drafted to keep you compliant and covered as you rent out your property.


The Washington, D.C. lease agreement is split up into three sections.

  • Section 1 contains information specific to you, your tenants, your rental property, and the details of your lease. This is all information that you add during the lease creation process in TurboTenant.

  • Section 2 contains clauses in accordance with Washington, DC law. In order to stay compliant with the law, you will not be able to edit any details in Section 2.

  • Section 3 contains general clauses for landlords in the United States. It was drafted with best practices in mind for the landlord, tenant relationship. Like Section 2, you will not be able to edit these details.

While you may not edit all of the specifics directly, remember you can add additional provisions that supersede any existing language in the lease by using the Additional Provisions section. This gives you customization and flexibility should you have unique things you want to ensure are covered in your lease.

Section 1 - Custom to You

Section 1 contains the custom details relevant to you, your tenants, and your rental property— who is on the lease, rent amount, utilities, etc. You’ll add these details during the lease creation process

We’ve set up the lease agreement in a way that is easy for you and your tenants to understand. You’ll see the main details you’ve added to the summary table at the front of the lease agreement. The remaining items—like smoking, utilities, keys, etc.—are outlined in the rest of Section 1 as you can see in this example Washington, DC Lease Agreement.

Here are a couple of other items in Section 1 worth mentioning:

Additional Provisions: this is where you can add any property specific rules, necessary local clauses, or other specifics you want to include. We recommend that you review any additional provisions with a lawyer.

Lost Key: if your tenants do not return all keys to you when they move out then they are required to pay for the full cost of rekeying the property.

Section 2 - Specific to Washington, DC

Section 2 includes language that is specific to Washington, DC. In order to help make sure you stay compliant with local laws, we’ve not allowed you to edit the details here.

There are some clauses in Section 2 that we wanted to call out so you understand how it affects you and your tenants.

Late Fees - Section 2.1

Rent is due in full on the Due Date. If Rent is not received on or before the fifth (5th) day of each month, a late fee of five percent (5%) of the unpaid Rent amount will be charged. All late fees shall be deemed additional rent for the month, and shall be paid and collected as such. Late fees will be assessed from the Due Date until the entire balance of unpaid Rent, accrued late fees, and any other charges are paid in full.

Security Deposit Provisions - Section 2.4

Security deposits requirements may vary quite a bit from state to state. In Washington, DC:

  • Security deposits may not exceed one month’s rent.

  • Additional pet deposits can be charged.

  • Security deposits must be kept in FDIC interest-bearing escrow account in District of Columbia.

  • Landlord must provide receipt to Tenant for any security deposit showing exact date of deposit, amount and purpose of payment.

  • Landlord shall post at the premises and rental office at year end, where the security deposits are held and what the prevailing interest rate was for each 6 month period for past year.

  • At the end of Lease, Landlord shall provide Tenant with a list of the interest rates for each 6 month period during lease term.

Security deposit returns in Washington, DC also have some unique rules:

  • If no charges are due against the Security deposits, Landlord must return the funds with interest earned within 45 days after Lease termination.

  • If charges are due against security deposit, Landlord must give notice to Tenant in writing, delivered personally or by certified mail at Tenant’s last known address, of any lawful charges and deductions.

  • Landlord has 30 days after giving notice of charges to return the balance of security deposit to Tenant along with itemization of repairs or uses of security deposit.

  • Landlord must mail or deliver returned security deposit, interest and/or notice to Tenant at Tenant’s last furnished address.

Notification of Building Problems or Repairs Needed - Section 2.7

Tenant shall keep the Premises in good order and condition, and immediately pay for any repairs caused by Tenant’s negligence or misuse, that of their guests, or Additional Occupant(s). Tenant agrees to notify Landlord immediately in writing via certified mail upon first discovering any repairs or maintenance needed, or signs of serious building problems, including but not limited to: a crack in the foundation, a tilting porch, a crack in the plaster or stucco, moisture in the ceiling, buckling sheetrock or siding, a leaky roof, a spongy floor, any leaking or running water, appliance malfunction, and/or electrical shorting or sparks. Landlord shall have a reasonable period of time to make such repairs. Failure to report a problem may create a situation where the Tenant will be liable for damages due to the problem not being addressed sooner. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Agreement, Landlord will pay for repairs of conditions that materially affect the health or safety of an ordinary resident (i.e., dangerous or hazardous conditions).

Entry/Access to Premises by Landlord - Section 2.8

Landlord shall have the right at all reasonable times during the Term of this Agreement to enter the Premises for the purpose of inspecting and exhibiting the Premises and all buildings and improvements thereon. In non-emergency situations, Landlord will make a good faith effort to notify Tenant at least forty eight (48) hours prior to entry by one of the following methods: telephone message, email message, or door hanger, and having made such good faith effort shall enter as necessary. In an emergency situation, or if a repair is requested by Tenant, Landlord is permitted to enter immediately without prior notice. Tenant understands that Landlord will typically commence showing the Premises to prospective tenants one hundred twenty (120) days or more before the expiration of the term of this Agreement, but may show the Premises to prospective tenants, purchasers, or lenders at any time. Landlord shall further have the right to display “for sale", "for rent", or "vacancy" signs in or about the Premises.

Fair Housing - Section 2.10

Civil rights laws of the United States and Washington, DC prohibit housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or familial status. There may be additional local ordinances that may include other protected classes. Please research protected classes in your county if there is a concern. All parties to this Agreement shall act according to all applicable fair housing laws.

Rent Control Notification/Notice of Rent Increases- Section 2.15

Prior to signing Lease, Landlord must notify Tenant if the premises are subject to rent control per Section 205 of the District of Columbia Rental Housing Act of 1985. If the Premises are not subject to rent control, any rent increases are not regulated by the Rent Stabilization Program of the Act and the Premises is exempt from the Rent Stabilization Program.

Landlord must give a 30-day notice of any increase in rent and follow the terms and conditions of the Rental Housing Act of 1985, DC Official Code Section 42-3501.01 et seq.

Section 3

The clauses in Section 3 are standard to most lease agreements. Along with the rest of the lease agreement, we worked with experienced landlords to make sure you are following best practices in your lease agreement.

Subletting - Section 3.1

Your tenant is not at all allowed to sublease the rental property without your written permission.

Altering or Improving the Property - Section 3.2

Your tenant cannot make any alterations or improvements—like repainting—without your written consent. Unless agreed upon, when they move out, the property must be in the same condition that it was in when they moved in.

Military Personnel Clause/Family Violence/Sex Offenses or Stalking - Section 3.8

The federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act allows a Tenant to terminate this Agreement, under certain circumstances, if they enlist, are moved, or are drafted or commissioned in the U.S. Armed Forces. Tenants may have additional rights, under state or local laws, to terminate this Agreement early in certain situations involving family violence, certain sexual offenses, harassment, or stalking. All Parties to this Agreement shall act according to any such federal, state, or local law applicable in the jurisdiction where the Premises is located. Any Tenant who is the victim of domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault or stalking can terminate this Lease upon thirty (30) days prior written notice to Landlord.

Choice of Law - 3.11

The rental agreement will be governed and construed in accordance to Washington, DC's own laws. Also there is a requirement to consent to the use of the county courts in which the property is located.

Attorney/Collection Fees - 3.17

To the extent allowed under applicable law, should it become necessary for Landlord to employ an attorney to enforce any of the conditions or covenants hereof, or a collection company to recover any financial loss, including the collection of Rent or gaining possession of the Premises, Tenant agrees to pay all collection expenses so incurred. Attorney’s fees are not chargeable to Tenant.

Indemnification - 3.20

To the maximum extent permitted under applicable law, Landlord shall not be liable for any damage or injury of or to the Tenant, Tenant's family, Additional Occupant(s), guests, invitees, agents, or employees, or to any person entering the Premises or the building of which the Premises are a part or to goods or equipment, or in the structure or equipment of the structure of which the Premises are a part.

Missing something you want to make sure is included?

This article only includes an overview of some of the details included in the Washington, DC Lease Agreement. You can read the whole agreement and double-check for specific details by clicking this link to see an example of the agreement.

We wanted our lease agreement to handle the majority of use cases for landlords in Washington, DC. However, we do know that some rental situations are unique. If there are other specifics you want to outline in the lease agreement, you can do so in the Additional Provisions section while creating your lease agreement in TurboTenant. We recommend that you review them with a lawyer to ensure you stay compliant with the law.

Disclaimer: Changing some terms in the lease may conflict with state or local laws. If you make large edits, we recommend speaking with an attorney. Please have a look at your specific state lease agreement for more information. TurboTenant is not responsible for edits that are not compliant with state laws. TurboTenant is unable to provide legal advice.

DISCLAIMER: This lease agreement is not warrantied, either expressly or implied, by TurboTenant, Inc. as to their effectiveness or completeness. TurboTenant, Inc. does not provide legal advice. TURBOTENANT, INC. AND ITS SERVICES, DOCUMENTS, RECORDS, AND PRODUCTS ARE NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE ADVICE OF AN ATTORNEY. The user is advised to check all applicable state and federal laws before using this agreement, attachments, disclosures, forms, or parts thereof and to have them reviewed by competent legal counsel prior to use.

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